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Illinois Judicial Speakers Bureau


 

Welcome from the Chief Justice

Dear Fellow Citizen,

            Thank you for your interest in the Illinois Judicial Speakers Bureau. Your visit to this website may reflect your personal interest in how the judicial system works in Illinois, or perhaps you are a member of an organization with an interest in the judicial process.

            The Illinois Judicial Speakers Bureau was established in 2002 by the Illinois Supreme Court and the Illinois Judges Association for the purpose of answering these questions. The Bureau provides judges and other court personnel to speak to community groups and organizations on a variety of topics. The purpose of the Bureau is to educate the public about the role played by the judicial system in our government, in our communities, and in the everyday lives of the people of Illinois.

            When most people think of the judiciary, they envision a courtroom and a judge in a black robe wielding a gavel. Based on their exposure to television and films, they may imagine intense drama or surprising verdicts in high-profile criminal cases. While there are some dramatic moments in court, holding criminal trials is by no means the sole function of our courts.

            Court proceedings include not only criminal trials, but also the adjudication of disputes between all sorts of people. Marriages are dissolved and decisions made about child custody and other related issues. Wills are interpreted and estates distributed. Contracts are enforced or declared invalid. Tenants may be evicted or landlords ordered to correct problems. Often, the parties reach a settlement of their dispute, and the role of the court is to give effect to their agreement. In short, the decisions made in our courtrooms can affect any person and any personal or business relationship.

            Please take the time to read more about the Judicial Speakers Bureau through the links on this website, which address many of the questions you may have about the program. If you have additional questions, or would like to arrange for a speaker, you may contact the Supreme Court’s communications office at (312) 793-0870 or e-mail dcook@illinoiscourts.gov.

            The Judicial Speakers Bureau is a valuable resource, and I encourage you and your organization to take advantage of it. The court system belongs to the people, and one of the obligations of judges and court personnel is to improve the peoples’ understanding of the judicial function. This is an obligation we undertake enthusiastically.

Sincerely,

Rita B. Garman
Chief Justice
Supreme Court of Illinois





General Information

The Illinois Judicial Speakers Bureau was established by the Illinois Supreme Court and the Illinois Judges Association to increase awareness of our judicial system and its role in the community.  By enabling community groups to hear directly from judges and other court officials, it is hoped that citizens can better appreciate the judicial system and its function in a democracy.

The Speakers Bureau, which is composed of justices, judges and courtroom personnel statewide, will help arrange for a speaker.  You should know that our speakers are bound by the Code of Judicial Conduct and are unable to address certain matters, such as pending litigation.

All presentations are voluntary by the judges with no cost to the community.

The Illinois Judicial Speakers Bureau looks forward to working with your organization.

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How It Works

A representative of the requesting group may fill out the form and fax or mail it to the communications office of the Illinois Supreme Court, in care of Dawn Frison Cook.  You will then be given the name and number of the speaker who will help you in completing the arrangements.  

The Speakers Bureau also honors requests for its "Judges in the Classroom" program designed to provide school children with the opportunity to hear firsthand from a judge how the judicial system works.  Judges can make the presentation in the classroom, or visits to the courthouse can be arranged.  

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Suggested Topics

Alternative Dispute Resolution
Appeals
Bail Review
Domestic Violence
Judges as Problem Solvers
Jury Duty
Juvenile Court
Plea Bargaining
Role of Judge in the Judicial Process
Role of Judge in the Community
Small Claims Court
Traffic Court

This is by no means an exhaustive list of topics.  Judges can speak on any topic relating to the administration of justice.  Judges, however, are bound by the Code of Judicial Conduct and are unable to speak on certain matters, such as pending litigation.  Please contact the Supreme Court's communications office at (312) 793-0870 if needed, for clarification.

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